*THE LORD’S DAY
By Bolanle Bolawole
THE question was never whether the All Progressives Congress (APC) would unravel but when and how. Like Marxists would theorise, APC carried within itself the seeds of its own destruction. In other words, it harbours internal contradictions that led inexorably into destruction. It could not be helped. And it could not help itself. It was a disaster or accident waiting to happen. The good thing about APC was when its legacy parties came together to form the mega opposition party that robustly squared up with the fawning, wobbling, fumbling, corrupt, inept, and over-confident Peoples Democratic Party, upstaging and uprooting it from power. But that was where the party, unfortunately, stopped. The next thing for APC after victory was crises.
Two main people to blame for this are President Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. These are the men who planted the seed of discord and unending crisis that, eventually, is consuming the party today. And both men acted out of selfishness and base, not enlightened, self-interest. Each time I watch Buhari engage in public these days, I perceive that this is a man who is only interested in enjoying the glamour of the highest office in the land. He does not appear interested in one jot in discharging his office’s onerous responsibilities or even exercising its massive and awesome powers. He deliberately and carefully surrounds himself with cabals and leaves them to exercise the powers of his office not even on his behalf but on their own behalf and as they please.
Buhari’s only interest appears to me to be to simply enjoy the perquisites of office without being bothered with discharging its duties and responsibilities. He wanted power. He wanted to also make history like Olusegun Obasanjo. And then this – if you have followed his history of public service carefully – he wanted to use the highest office in the land to give the advantage to his region and religion. He has done this in all the records of his public office – in the Army, in the PTF, as Life Patron of Fulani herdsmen, name in. The men and women he surrounds himself with have been up to the tasks set before them – hold down the bull while Buhari milks it. Do the job while Buhari enjoys himself; ride roughshod over the interests of the entire nation while advancing and protecting the interests of the region and religion of Mr President. For these reasons, his Cabinet and personal staff were carefully chosen and gingerly put together. All the protests against the bare-faced robbery of other sections and religions have not moved Buhari a bit. It still will not move him. The only solution to Buhari is what his co-coupists applied in 1985 – yank him out of power.
That is the exact solution that will be applied again in 2019 if Nigerians are to rid themselves of the disaster called Muhammadu Buhari. They say if we did not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria. I agree – but there is something killing Nigeria faster than corruption and that something is Buhari. If we do not remove Buhari fast, there will be nothing left for corruption to kill in that Buhari would have killed Nigeria before corruption arrives to deal its lethal blow. Believe me, Nigeria and Nigerians can still survive corruption another four years but I shudder to think what will remain of Nigeria, going by the pogrom and ethnic cleansing going on in the Middle Belt especially, with four more years of Buhari in the saddle. If the killers are as emboldened as they are now when they know for sure that we can cut short Buhari’s reign and rule next year, imagine how audacious they will become if and when we renew Buhari’s mandate for another four years. If Buhari himself fiddles like Nero while the country burns and makes only annoyingly provocative and patently deceitful, sanctimonious preachments where decisive action is needed now that he needs our votes for a second term, imagine how he will laugh us to scorn and tell us to our face, like the new APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, told the Edo widow, “go and die” when he bags second term and those not need us again.
Buhari is the first major reason why APC is unravelling today. He has not governed the country well. He has not even governed it at all. He has abdicated his duties and responsibilities. He has ceded power to the cabal he massed around him. And the projects they have elected to execute are anti-people and sectional. Buhari has also not administered APC well. In fact, the party does not amount to anything in his reckoning. It was just a ladder for him to climb to the top; a mere vehicle that took him to his destination where all the goodies were waiting for him. Once there, burn the ladder! Remove the vehicle’s brain box and deflate its tyres. Tinubu was the vehicle’s brain box while the other legacy parties like new PDP, Okorocha’s APGA, and ANPP were the tyres that have since been deflated. It is only now that Buhari thinks of second term that he sees the need to search for the vehicle’s brain box again and purchase new tyres for it to move down the 2019 road.
Everyone thought Tinubu was smart – at least smarter than he has proven in his APC/Buhari misadventure. I am sure Tinubu must have thought himself smarter than Buhari and his cabals have made him appear to be. Two factors were Tinubu’s undoing: Because he thinks he was smarter than everyone else, he underrated Buhari and his cabals. Don’t ever underrate your enemy. That is usually the golden role of engagement. Bible says let him that thinks he stands be careful, lest he falls. Tinubu was not careful. He was not circumspect. He was cocksure of himself. Some people said it was because he was too trusting but I beg to disagree. It was because he overrated himself while underrating every other person. Tinubu was the master of Lagos. In fact, he refers to himself as Lagos personified. When he wants to retire to bed, he usually says: Eko fe sun o! Which means: “Lagos is going to bed,” He is Lagos – and you know what that means.
Over-confidence killed Tinubu. Over-confidence allowed Buhari and his cabals to pick up Tinubu cheaply – and, oh my, see how they have rubbished him! Tinubu had thought he would pick and choose for Buhari. He had thought he would be the power house of the APC government. He was the National Leader, not so? He cobbled together the merger, not so? And he rubbed it in people’s eyes. He was also greedy – pardon my choice of words but we must call a spade a spade. Tinubu was greedy with and for power. He started that vice from Lagos and it followed him to the national level. He is yet to get rid of it and that is why his political empire is collapsing around him and the Jagaban Borgu has seriously emaciated politically even in his South-west home base.
Today, he is a shadow of his former self but that is a story for another day. Suffice it to say, however, that he has lost Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti and is struggling for Oyo and Osun. Even in Lagos, he is gasping. The only reason Buhari and his cabals have not yanked the Lagos APC stool off Tinubu’s buttocks is because they still think he has some relevance towards Buhari’s second term agenda. In 2015, Tinubu thought he had Buhari’s back not knowing that immediately after Buhari’s victory, his relevance ceased. The project to cut him to size began immediately after the victory but he did not know it. While he was still gallivanting all over the place and pencilling down names of who gets what and when, the plots and plans to disgrace and cut him to size had been perfected and laid on the table. Tinubu was too carried away by the prospects of the influence and power he would exercise that he did not read the handwriting on the wall. The fault was his because the handwriting was clear enough; it was not written in any heavenly language that you needed a Daniel to interpret. Power is a dangerous portion; an intoxicant that those who gobble it find difficult to control. Tinubu was power drunk. And from the outset he made costly mistakes and fell into errors that were to prove fatal to his political career. Sitting back now and with the benefit of hindsight, he would have realised that he should never have fought Bukola Saraki and the new PDP. They should have been his worthy allies. Had he been politically sagacious enough to bring the new PDP under his wings, they would both have been better able to stand up to Buhari and his cabals and restrain their stranglehold over the polity. The rest, as they say, is history but suffice it to say that events as they unfold appear to prove Saraki a better politician than Tinubu.
Put differently, Saraki, because he straddles both the South and North, and also because he is more familiar with the Fulani and the politics of the North, is better able to read and respond to the politics of the North than Tinubu. While Tinubu is stranded politically as we speak, Saraki is forging ahead with efforts to cripple APC and unhinge Buhari in 2019. It is a national service they are rendering and for which conscionable Nigerians will eternally be grateful. What will be Tinubu’s role in that national call and emergency to lead Buhari’s bull out of Nigeria’s china shop and stop the pogrom and ethnic cleansing being perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen? That is a question Tinubu must carefully consider and answer. On it rests his continued relevance in the politics of this country.
As we close, by abandoning new PDP and coming up with Reformed APC, the Saraki-Dogara group are cleverly avoiding any legal rigmarole that can entangle them and leave their flanks open. The law recognises that once a party is factionalised, its members can defect without losing their positions. The next step will be for the Reformed APC to now silently engage in massive recruitment of supporters in the National Assembly and amongst State governors and then bid for an auspicious occasion to pull out of APC. Like the new PDP did to PDP before the 2015 election, so the R-APC will do to APC before the 2019 election. These, indeed, are interesting times!